A new Costa Book Awards survey has revealed that Enid Blyton is the top of the poll as far as 2000 surveyed adults are concerned. Now I don't know how this survey was conducted, but the influence of Enid Blyton on people my age and younger is undeniable.
I was brought up on a diet of the Magic Faraway Tree, Secret Seven, and Famous Five. There was a monthly magazine that came from England and my mother had it on order for me at the newsagent. And then there were the annuals. I wonder if she was responsible for my interest in British police procedurals and cozies: whether it was a natural progression from Blyton to Christie?
Blyton, who wrote more than 700 stories over a 40-year career, and has sold over 600 million books in total around the world, came out top and continues to be a phenomenally popular author. Despite her death in 1968, around eight million books are still sold worldwide every year, including more than a million Famous Five tales.
Here's the top 10 out of the 50 listed in the survey
1. Enid Blyton
2. Roald Dahl
3. J.K. Rowling
4. Jane Austen
5. William Shakespeare
6. Charles Dickens
7. J.R.R. Tolkien
8. Agatha Christie
9. Stephen King
10. Beatrix Potter
So were you an Enid Blyton child? I am sure I have seen at least one other crime fiction blogger who refers to her in their interests.
By the time my children came along there were so many other books to choose from, but in post-war Australia books were not plentiful and I remember waiting avidly for the next offering from the Blyton stable.
My parents say I was reading in the womb...maybe not but certainly could read long before I went to school...my folks didn't have a lot of money so every Saturday (come rain, hail or blazing Aussie heat) I would badger my mother until she would walk with me to the Prospect Institute (pre-cursor to the public library) where I would make my selection for the week. Dear, dear Enid featured heavily in my selections: The Secret Seven, The magic Faraway Tree, Malory Towers, The Famous Five all were wonderful...but my favourite was always the Naughtiest Girl series - all those midnight feasts :)
I only really liked the fairy stories, especially Faraway Tree and Wishing Chair, but I also had a funny little magazine weekly, called Sunny Smiles, which I loved. Never really got into Secret Seven or Famous Five or Malory Towers because I plunged straight into the 'old girls' world of Abbey Girls and Chalet School.
She was and is a brilliant way for children to learn to love reading, though I'm not sure she set my feet on the path to Murder!
I'm sure some of my love of reading came from the fact that s=there was so much of her to read.
An I reckon she set me on the path to reading mysteries too.
Thanks for dropping a comment Bernadette and Nicola
I was an avid Blyton fan - especially the mysteries!
I've surprised a few more people haven't owned up to being Blyton addicts Martin
I know this is an old post of yours Kerrie but as I am new to your site, I want to add my name to the Enid Blyton fan club. My parents didn't read very much but they were always happy to buy me the latest Enid Blyton published in the UK by Dean.They are sitting in my attic now, full of scribbles. Without a doubt Enid Blyton nurtured my love of reading.
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